Bhubaneswar: Ever since Sambad’s editor Soumya Ranjan Patnaik raised questions through his editorials in the Odia daily over the visit of 5T Secretary VK Pandian to various districts, the bureaucrat and his associates have ostensibly become vindictive towards the Khandapada MLA.
Patnaik in his editorials had questioned the expenses incurred for Pandian’s visits mentioning that the events were being projected as political ones with the Secretary acting as a representative of people. Patnaik mentioned that such developments were causing deterioration of democratic values in the state.
It is being alleged that Pandian, who is also the Private Secretary to the Chief Minister, has been running a parallel Government by misusing the support of people towards the CM. As Patnaik criticized it in his editorials, Pandian and his associates, instead of replying over the matter, have attempted to stifle the voice of the Sambad Group.
Speaking to media persons, Patnaik had opined that Pandian shouldn’t involve himself in political acts as he is an official of the State Government. Pandian should resign from the official post if he has desire to enter politics, Patnaik had said.
In an apparent bid to pressurize Sambad Group, government advertisements were barred to the Odia daily. Later, the same was done with its sister concerns — Kanak News and Radio Choklate.
As if these ‘revengeful’ acts were not enough, several private companies and business establishments were allegedly threatened not to release advertisements to Sambad Group with an intention of incurring financial loss to the conglomerate, thereby forcing it to stop bringing the irregularities in the administration to fore.
However, Sambad’s efforts towards highlighting such irregularities continued unabated, following which the ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) removed Patnaik from the post of party’s vice president. The move by the BJD has apparently proved that the Secretary rules the roost in the current administration.
Subsequently, a apocryphal case has been lodged against Z Estates, the owner of which is a relative of Patnaik, with the Economic Offence Wing (EOW).
Furthermore, one more case has been filed with the EOW against Sambad and its editor, in which a former employee of the newspaper was pressurized to do so. The complainant currently works with Sakala Odia daily, which is owned by an associate of the concerned officer.
A matter pertaining to a loan, which has already been repaid, was intentionally brought to limelight whereas Patnaik had no involvement in it. Sakala and Nandighosha TV are being used to defame Patnaik.
While Patnaik has been striving towards protecting the democratic values and dignity of Odias, the concerned official has left no stone unturned to hamper the efforts of the legislator by misusing government machinery.